WALDORF, Md. — The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs hosted the Lancaster Barnstormers for the first of a three-game set on Friday evening.
The Stormers got on top early while the Crabs bats were quiet for a vast majority of the game, but came through when it mattered most, coming back in the ninth inning to tie the game before Joe DeLuca hit a walk-off single in the tenth, winning 4-3.
Despite entering Friday’s contest winless in six tries against the Blue Crabs, the Barnstormers looked like they were going to finally crack the Crabs. Daryl Thompson got the start for Southern Maryland, and the hometown hero tossed a complete game.
One of his few mishaps occurred in the third inning, when the Barnstormers bats came alive. Melvin Mercedes began the scoring with a single up the middle allowing Jake Hoover to score. After a throwing error allowed Mercedes to advance into scoring position, Andretty Cordero kept it going, lacing a liner to left field, scoring Mercedes.
The Stormers took a 2-0 lead into the top of the sixth inning, and cushioned their lead.
Trayvon Robinson came up clutch for the visitors, singling on a line drive to center field, allowing Cordero to score. Despite the trio of runs allowed, Thompson allowed just eight hits in nine innings pitched, while fanning five.
Southern Maryland scratched a run across in their half of the seventh inning, when Michael Wielansky doubled Ryan Haug home, but heading into the ninth inning the Crabs chances looked bleak, with Lancaster leading 3-1.
The bottom of the ninth began with a Braxton Lee single and a Ryan Haug walk, and just as they have all season, Southern Maryland staged an unbelievable comeback. After Michael Baca bunted the runners into scoring position, Jack Sundberg went down on strikes.
For the third time in four games, the Crabs were down to their final out, trailing at home. It was Michael Wielansky who played hero on Friday night, doubling home a pair of runs to tie the game 3-3. After Endrys Briceno worked out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the tenth, the Crabs struck magic once more.
With a runner on second base and no outs, Joe DeLuca ripped a single up the middle, scoring Alex Crosby.
It was DeLuca’s second walk-off in the team’s last four games. Southern Maryland trimmed their magic number to four with the win, knocking on the door of a playoff birth.
Southern Maryland will look to keep it going on Saturday night when Denson Hull takes the mound in game two.
The 39-12 Blue Crabs will face off against Oscar De La Cruz in the 6:35 PM contest, with fireworks to follow.